Mother receives life sentence in daughter's murder

Posted: Sunday, June 08, 2003

ANCHORAGE (AP) A California judge handed a mother a life sentence for her involvement in the South Lake Tahoe murder of her 9-year-old daughter.

El Dorado County Superior Court Judge Jerald Lasarow sentenced Lisa Ann Platz on Friday, according to the Tahoe Daily Tribune. The maximum sentence includes no chance of parole. Platz also was ordered to pay $12,000 in restitution.

A six-week trial led to a jury conviction in March.

Rebbeca Aramburo's throat was fatally slashed in September 2001 in a tent at Campground by the Lake. The killing was the apparent ending of a child-custody dispute gone awry.

Officers found the body when they stormed the tent, ending a nine-hour standoff with Platz, 33, and her companion, James Csucsai. The 35-year-old man later hung himself with a bed sheet in jail.

Rebecca Aramburo lived in Fairbanks for four years and attended kindergarten at Anne Wein Elementary School in 1998. Her mother met Csucsai when he lived in North Pole and she lived in Fairbanks.

They were charged with kidnapping the girl at gunpoint at a relative's house in Lakewood, Wash., on Aug. 13, 2001.

FBI agents were tracking Platz and Csucsai after the kidnapping and received word that they were in the South Lake Tahoe area.

The judge on Friday told Platz how difficult it was to impose the sentence because he considered her a cooperative defendant.

''Ms. Platz, since she's been in this court, has been a nice lady. But nice ladies do commit crimes,'' Lasarow said. ''Why, and I'll probably never know the answer to this, why didn't Ms. Platz do something to release her daughter?''

He shared his thought that Platz ''couldn't face the fact'' that Rebbeca's natural father, Jose Aramburo, could be involved in his daughter's life.

The judge acknowledged the defense and prosecution had differing perspectives on what happened on that day. He said he still didn't know who actually held the military knife when the girl's throat was slashed.

Platz's public defender planned to appeal.

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